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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

More firefighters leave Alberta for Ontario on Sunday to help battle wildfires


Alberta’s minister of agriculture and forestry says more firefighters are heading to Ontario on Sunday to help battle wildfires in parts of that province.

Devin Dreeshen tweeted that his department also dispatched 41 people to Ontario earlier this month and another 40 on Sunday.

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Derrick Forsythe, an Alberta government spokesperson, told Global News that the 79 sent to Ontario will work as firefighters while two will work as liaison officers.

He said the firefighters who had already been deployed were sent to battle blazes in northwestern Ontario, near Thunder Bay and Nipigon.

READ MORE: Rain helped firefighters regain control over 2020 wildfire in northwestern Ontario: officials 

Forsythe said those leaving Sunday will end up going wherever “Ontario needs them most,” adding that once they arrive, they’ll be debriefed on the situation and then be deployed to a specific site or sites.

“So long as it does not interfere with our wildfire suppression efforts at home, when another jurisdiction is in need, Alberta always answers the call,” he said in an email.

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There are currently four “fires of note” burning in northwestern Ontario.

One is located about 45 kilometres northeast of the town of Nipigon.

“This fire is not under control and has been remapped to 2,410 hectares following favourable flying weather conditions,” the government website reads. “This change in size represents growth on the fire from a few days ago.

“Five crews have been assigned to this fire with more being deployed over the next few days. Four helicopters are assigned to this fire.”

Another blaze is located about 40 kilometres northeast of Nipigon. However, that fire is being held at 150 hectares, according to the Ontario government. It said nine crews and two helicopters are currently assigned to the fire.

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The other two fires of note are burning in the Thunder Bay area. One is located 141 kilometres north of Thunder Bay in the Holinshead Lake area.

“This fire is not under control at 300 hectares,” the government website reads. “Crews and heavy equipment continue to make great progress on the fire.”

The other fire is located near Bedivere Lake, about 30 kilometres southwest of Upsala.

“This fire is not under control at 500 hectares,” the government website reads.

READ MORE: Dry spring can create wildfire trouble for Western Canada: experts 

“Alberta has agreements to share resources nationally and internationally if help is requested and it is determined that we are capable of providing it,” Forsythe said. “Before any wildland firefighters or equipment are sent out of province, we make sure that enough firefighters and equipment remain here to manage any new wildfires.

“The hazard across much of the province (of Alberta) remains low and we are prepared to respond to any new wildfires.”

Watch below: Some Global News videos about wildfires.




© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





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